What’s going on everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 24th, 2018. Tonight, we get a smaller slate with only five games to target. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 7:00PM EST lock, to see if any new injury news comes up. As always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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PG/SG: James Harden: (11,700) He underperformed vs The Pistons on Thursday night (45 DK points), but Harden should still be a building block for your lineups on Saturday night with PG Chris Paul (hamstring) expected to miss another game. He just struggled with his shot in this game, only shooting 4/20 from the field and 0/8 from beyond the arc, which was the first time this season that he hasn’t made a three pointer in a game. The MVP candidate obviously won’t have another shooting night like this again, especially in this great matchup vs The Pelicans, who rank second in pace this season and struggle at defending guards, presenting a high current opponent +/- of 4.06 points. This will be his fourth and final meeting with The Pelicans and in the first three games, Harden scored 60.9 DK PPG.
We all know his usage will be extremely high with Paul out of the offense and in the 19 previous games CP3 has sat this season, Harden averaged 57 DK PPG on a 37.8% usage rate and a ridiculous 51.5% assist percentage. This is a great 1.52 DK PPM and in 35-40 minutes of work, which should happen as The Pelicans are a hot team right now, winning four straight games (-7.5 HOU), Harden should score 60+ DK points in this spot. The Rockets still need to win right now to secure the one seed in The West and every game also still matters for The Pelicans with them chasing the three seed and with The Western Conference standings being very tight overall. This game has the highest O/U game total of the night by a whole eight points and is the only contest that has playoff implications. (226 O/U game total) Targeting players who still have something to play for is always a wise move this late in the season and I don’t see how you don’t make Harden a priority for Saturday night’s smaller five game slate.
PF/C: Cristiano Felicio: (4,300) Even with starting PF Lauri Markkanen (back) returning to the lineup last night, Felicio was still very productive as the starting center, notching a double double and scoring 30.25 DK points vs The Bucks. Surprisingly, with Markkanen back, Felicio saw his most playing time as a starter, logging 31.5 minutes in this game. In these last four contests as The Bulls’ starting center he is now averaging 27 DK PPG and 29.8 MPG. With this being the second night of a back to back set, The Bulls have elected to rest Markkanen and he will not travel with the team to Detroit to take on The Pistons. Felicio should draw another start at center and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t see close to 30 minutes again on Saturday night, especially considering this a matchup they will need his size to matchup with The Pistons’ big front line of PF Blake Griffin and center Andre Drummond.
He has been scoring a decent 0.91 DK PPM in these past four games and with a rough projection of 30 minutes, Felicio should reach five times value with 30-35 DK point upside if he can salvage another double double in this positive matchup. (3.77 opponent +/-) PF Noah Vonleh is also a strong target, as he should draw the start at PF with Markkanen resting. Before the rookie’s return last night, Vonleh was also a productive fantasy option for The Bulls, averaging 27.5 DK PPG. He is a better player overall, but Felicio’s playing time has been more stable, while The Bulls have been tanking. Both bigs are very much in play at their cheap price tags and I don’t mind utilizing both in the same lineup tonight. UPDATE: Robin Lopez will start tonight, moving Felicio to the bench. Felicio could still play a good amount, but this now makes Vonleh the better and safer play. I still think Felicio can out produce his price tag, but his role is shakier now, making him a better GPP target.
PG/SG: Ian Clark: (3,800) He may not start, but Clark is the punt play to attack with starting PG Rajon Rondo (wrist) out. Rondo missed last Saturday’s game for rest and even though The Pelicans opted to Deandre Liggins to start in the veteran’s place, it was Clark who saw the bigger role, scoring 24 DK points in 31.2 minutes off the bench. This game was vs The Rockets who are the same opponent The Pelicans face tonight. They may go with Liggins as the starter again because he is known for his defense and they obviously need a good defender to matchup with Harden, but even if this the case, Clark should play more than him and see around 30 minutes.
This was the only game that Rondo and Demarcus Cousins (Achilles) have missed together this season and in all the minutes Clark has logged without these two plus a slew of players who are no longer with the team, he is scoring 0.76 DK PPM, which is a sizeable jump from his usual 0.66 DK PPM for the year. This Western Conference tilt is going to be a faced paced shootout and Clark should be able to score 20+ DK points in this matchup that is much easier for guards with Paul out of the picture. (2.4 opponent +/-) As I talked about above with Harden, this game is the only game that has any importance tonight. Having as much exposure as possible to this game is a smart move and Clark at only $3,800 is a great option that can be used in all formats.
C: Dwight Howard: (8,000) Howard missed The Hornets last game because of a suspension and he should be fresh and ready to go tonight in an awesome matchup vs The Mavericks. In his last game before the suspension, Howard had a career night vs The Nets on Wednesday, scoring 32 points, while grabbing a career high 30 rebounds. (69.5 DK points) He played 34 minutes in this game and with three days of rest in his favor, Howard should see close to 35 minutes again, in this road game that has the smallest spread of the slate, with The Hornets only favored by 1.5 points.
Dallas has been an awful defensive team as of late, ranking as the second worst unit in the league over their last three games, which is a high current opponent +/- of 4.27 points. He has already exposed them once this season for 43 DK points and in the last five games he has faced an opponent +/- of 4.0 points or more, he is averaging 44.9 DK PPG. He has a current Vegas prop score of 42.9 fantasy points and Howard is one of the best point per dollar plays of tonight’s slate.
Also Consider: Troy Daniels (if Devin Booker is out again. We will know his status before lock with this being the first game of the night. Daniels is averaging 27.75 DK PPG and 30.9 MPG in these last three as the starter for Booker. The matchup is also gorgeous with The Magic sitting at a 5.51 opponent +/-), P.J. Tucker (played 36.3 minutes with Paul out last game and should see similar time tonight. He always lacks upside, but he is a viable way of getting more shares of this game), Trevor Ariza (also played more sans Paul, seeing 38 minutes last game. He scored only 21.75 DK points, but this matchup is great, at a 4.36 opponent +/- and he should play very high minutes once again), Eric Gordon (36.75 DK points in 41.5 minutes last game with Paul out. This matchup is excellent with The Pelicans sitting at a 4.95 opponent +/-), Jeremy Lamb (price is fair, but he can still beat value with Batum out. He is averaging 31.8 DK PPG in his last three as the starter and has a Vegas prop implied score of 30.17 points), E’Twaun Moore (minutes and usage will see bumps without Rondo. He has a Vegas prop score of 21.45 points), Wes Iwundu (started last game with Jonnathon Simmons out and scored 19.75 DK points in 29.17 minutes of action. Simmons is doubtful for tonight and Iwundu is a decent punt if he starts again, playing way up in pace vs The Suns who are a 3.59 opponent +/-), Jrue Holiday (is averaging 48.6 DK PPG in three games vs The Rockets this season and scored 46 DK points vs them with Rondo out last Saturday on a 30.7% usage rate. He will play more point and his matchup is dramatically better with Paul out), Tyler Ulis (out of nowhere played 30.2 minutes last night and scored 31 DK points. If Booker is out again, Ulis can be targeted in GPPs vs this weak Magic defense, but it’s hard to expect another game like this), Marquese Chriss (went off for 43.5 DK points in 35.2 minutes last night vs The Cavs. He started in this game and if he starts again he must be considered vs this Magic defense that has struggled vs centers all season, allowing the 8th most DK points to the position), Alex Len (only if he starts over Chriss. Whoever starts at center for The Suns will be a viable target. Len scored 42.8 DK points on them earlier this season), Cameron Payne (Only if Kris Dunn remains out. 33.5 DK points in 30.3 minutes last night vs The Bucks. I worry about the blow out vs The Pistons, but the price tag is reasonable enough that he can still get value here), Josh Jackson (if Booker is out again. Great spot vs this awful Magic defense. He is seeing a team high 31.7% usage rate in the two games he has played without Booker, Tyson Chandler, and T.J. Warren), Kemba Walker (even if we don’t include his 61.75 DK point explosion vs The Grizzlies in their last game, he was averaging 46.9 DK PPG in the prior two without Batum. His usage has gone all the way up to 31.8% in these last three and the matchup is very nice vs this Mavs defense that is the second worst in The NBA over their last three games), Cheick Diallo (If Nikola Mirotic is out. Hard to say if he would start, but Diallo would have to play 20+ and he is scoring 1.1 DK PPM this season), Tyler Ennis (should play 20-25 minutes with Isaiah Thomas outa and has a decent chance of meeting five times value at this price with him averaging 0.8 DK PPM this season), Kentavois Caldwell-Pope. (39.5 DK points in a whopping 42.52 minutes last game. Thomas is out and KCP should play similar minutes tonight. This Grizzlies defense will get Marc Gasol back, but they still struggle on the wings, at a 2.96 current opponent +/-)